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Trends in Employee Recognition – What to Expect in 2024?

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Trends in Employee Recognition – What to Expect in 2024?

Over the past few years, the importance of employee recognition has increased significantly. At the same time, new trends in employee recognition have significantly impacted the practices, processes, and results of recognition programs.


Many factors, such as evolving business practices, changes in socioeconomic situations, and emerging market trends, profoundly impact employees’ recognition needs and expectations. 

Hence, organizations today need to keep an eye on these emerging trends to ensure that their employee rewards and recognition programs remain relevant and effective.

Therefore, incorporating these changes into the recognition programs is essential to get the desired employee motivation and engagement results.

Employee Rewards and Recognition

Check out the earlier articles:

2023 Employee Recognition Trends

2022 Employee Recognition Trends

2021 Employee Recognition Trends

2020 Employee Recognition Trends

Awareness of these trends can enable organizations to modify their recognition programs promptly.

Hence, it can provide them with a competitive advantage in retaining top talent and boosting the confidence and morale of their workforce.

Most importantly, organizations can maintain the relevance and effectiveness of their recognition programs by making small changes to match the emerging trends.

What are the Factors Driving New Trends in Employee Recognition?

Employee Rewards and Recognition

Organizations need to understand the trends in employee recognition to keep their programs in sync with them.

Before that, it is important to learn about the various factors that are potentially driving these trends.

Hence, it is easier for organizations to establish the trends’ long-term impact and assess whether they need to make appropriate changes in their recognition programs.

So, here’s a look at the top factors that are driving new trends in employee recognition:

Factors driving New Trends in Employee Recognition

1. Emerging Technologies


Emerging technologies such as AI/ ML and VR/ AR. are the major factors driving new recognition trends.

These technological advances can enable instant recognition even for remote working employees.

Additionally, these technologies can enhance the user experience in employee recognition programs, making them more impactful and engaging for the entire workforce. 

2. New Operating Models

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Over the last few years, most organizations have adopted new work models, such as hybrid and remote working.

These new operating models have disrupted the normal mode of working from a physical workplace.

Hence, it is unsurprising that traditional recognition methods are not proving as effective under these new conditions.

This new work environment requires new recognition methods and more effective and satisfying employee strategies.

3. Workforce Dynamics

Employer Branding

Employee dynamics in organizations is one of the most significant contributors to creating new recognition trends.

Often, younger employees prefer recognition methods that offer better experiences, whereas older ones opt for recognition practices promising greater material benefits.

Similarly, employees working in different regions and countries with different socio-cultural backgrounds have different recognition needs.

Thus, the uniqueness of each employee cohort within the organization plays a vital role in driving new recognition trends. 

 4. Macroeconomic Factors

Measure The Impact Of The Program

Also, the changing macroeconomic environment in different countries and regions worldwide significantly drives new recognition trends.

Inflation levels, interest rates, growth or recessionary trends, exchange rates, etc. have a direct and indirect impact on the financial well-being of employees.

Hence, it may influence the needs and expectations of employees vis-à-vis how they are recognized.

5. Need For Deep Personalization


The younger generation of employees, especially millennials and Gen Z, prefers more personalized recognition. Personalized recognition assures employees they are valued as individuals and boosts their sense of belonging.

This requires the organizations to incorporate the likes and dislikes of individual employees in the recognition process.

What are the Emerging Trends in Employee Recognition for 2024?

Significant changes in the business environment, technology, operating models, employee dynamics, and macroeconomics drive employee recognition trends.

Understanding these trends is critical for organizations so that they can incorporate them into their employee recognition programs.

Here are the top employee recognition trends for 2024 that organizations should look out for:

Emerging Trends in Employee Recognition for 2024

1. Deep Use of AI/ ML for Recognition 


In 2024, AI/ ML will likely be used extensively to enhance the recognition process and make it more impactful. It is more likely to complement rather than replace human actions.

AI/ ML can provide deep insights into employee performance and help deliver better targeted and more personalized recognition.

Here are a few ways in which AI/ ML can enhance employee recognition:

Deep Use of AI ML for Recognition

A. Targeted Recognition

Targeted Recognition

AI/ ML can help organizations analyze employee data and provide valuable insights into their work performance.

These algorithms can scan massive amounts of employee performance data such as project completion, sales numbers, learning milestones, and customer feedback.

They can identify patterns and correlations that may not be apparent through manual analysis, helping in better-targeted recognition.

B. Real-time Alerts and Nudges

Alerts and Nudges

AI-powered systems can give managers and HR real-time nudges and alerts when employees achieve milestones or demonstrate exceptional performance.

So, it can enable timely recognition and reinforce positive behavior without waiting for a formal review cycle.

C. Eliminates Bias and Favouritism

Clean Slate

Also, AI/ ML can help make the recognition process more transparent and eliminate bias and favoritism.

These algorithms can automatically review recognition requests by managers and decide to approve or reject them in real time based on analysis of the available data.

It can also flag off potentially incorrect decisions to the program administrators.

D. Personalized Recognition


AI can help personalize recognition methods based on individual preferences and employees’ work styles.

It can recommend rewards or recognition gestures such as awards, bonuses, or public praise, that are most meaningful to each employee based on their past preferences and feedback.

Even recognition messages can be personalized accordingly.

E. Sentiment Analysis

Sentiment Analysis

AI-driven natural language processing (NLP) tools can analyze employee internal communication, survey responses, and posts on collaboration platforms such as Slack and Teams to identify patterns and sentiments.

This can be used to analyze employee behaviors about the organization’s core values. Thus, it can help the organization tailor recognition efforts accordingly.

Such use cases are making use of AI/ M popular in employee recognition programs.

Several organizations have already incorporated them in their recognition programs on a smaller scale, with plans to expand their scope in 2024.

2. Increased Usage of AR/ VR in Recognition


Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can help provide employees with immersive and engaging recognition experiences.

These technologies can be quite effective in fostering a positive work environment and celebrating the contributions of employees irrespective of where they are located.

Here are a few use cases for AR/ VR in employee recognition programs:

Increased Usage of AR VR in Recognition

A. Virtual Recognition Ceremonies

Virtual Awards Ceremony

VR can host virtual recognition ceremonies or events where employees can gather digitally to celebrate achievements and milestones.

This can enable a more immersive and inclusive experience, especially for remote-working or geographically dispersed teams.

AR can enhance virtual team meetings by overlaying recognition messages, achievements, or virtual awards on participants’ screens during video conferences, making recognition a part of regular work interactions.

B. Virtual Rewards and Trophies

Enable Social Recognition for Innovators 

Instead of giving traditional rewards such as physical merchandise, organizations can use VR to reward employees with virtual trophies, badges, or other digital items.

When displayed in their virtual workspaces, these virtual rewards would constantly remind them of their achievements and motivate them for a long time.

C. Immersive Employee Stories

Virtual Stories

AR/VR can be used to create immersive storytelling experiences that showcase the inspirational journeys and accomplishments of employees who have been recognized.

These interactive narratives can enable co-workers to get a deeper understanding and appreciation of their peers’ contributions and feel inspired to emulate them.

D. Gamified Recognition


VR environments can gamify recognition programs by creating interactive games and challenges related to employee achievements.

This can make recognition more engaging and enjoyable for employees.

E. VR Recognition Cards and Messages

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Instead of sending traditional recognition cards, managers and colleagues can send personalized VR cards or messages that the recipient can view in a virtual environment.

Generative AI can create customized and personalized designs for these recognition cards on the fly.

F. VR Experiences as Rewards

Virtual Experiences

Employees can be presented with VR experiences as forms of rewards. For example, they can be given VR headsets with pre-loaded virtual adventures or personal messages from the CEO.

These can be memorable ways to acknowledge their contributions. Also, recognized employees can be offered VR mentorship, coaching, or team-building sessions.

G. Customized VR Workspaces as Rewards

Virtual Awards Ceremony

Some organizations are already experimenting with customized VR workspaces for employees.

Recognized employees could receive special VR office spaces or other VR facilities that reflect their achievements and personal interests.

Integrating AR/ VR with employee recognition software can help create interactive experiences that boost employees’ motivation regardless of their location.  

3. Omnichannel Recognition/ Deep Integration

Omnichannel Recognition

Another important trend that organizations need to look out for in 2024 is embedding recognition features in the existing software platforms used at the workplace or through deep integration with them.

This can make the recognition process seamless and timely by enabling managers and co-workers to recognize their team members from any workplace platform.

Omnichannel Recognition

A. Embedding Recognition Features in Other Platforms 

Provide Time and Resources to Employees to Explore New Ideas

Embedding recognition features in communication and collaboration tools, project management software, sales systems, etc., can positively impact the recognition process.

It will also make it easier for employees to send and receive recognition without leaving the current platform.

For example, a project manager can instantly recognize a team member who has just completed a significant project activity on the project management tool itself.

The employee receives the notification through the tool and recognition is also showcased to other team members on the tool itself.

B. Automated Recognition triggered from Other Platforms

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Apart from embedding recognition features in other platforms, organizations can also integrate them with their recognition platforms so that they can integrate recognition into existing workflows.

When employees complete certain activities or reach certain milestones in their work systems, integration with the recognition platform could trigger automated recognition.

For example, when an employee completes a certain training module or assessment in the learning management system (LMS), it would automatically trigger a reward or recognition to the employee through the integration with the recognition platform.

Similarly, whenever a customer service employee gets a 5-star customer rating, it would immediately trigger a reward in the recognition platform through an integration with the CRM tool.

Such integration would eliminate the need for manual intervention or actions by managers or HR. These triggers could be based on pre-defined rules and would happen instantaneously.

Hence, this can help promote a culture of recognition and create a more positive and motivating work environment.

4. Increased Use of Chatbots 


Chatbots powered by AI and NLP are now becoming extremely popular in workplaces. They can also prove highly effective in enhancing the recognition process.

Bots can make the process of recognition extremely easy and conversational, enhancing employee experience and engagement.

Hence, they can be used in employee recognition programs to automate and enhance different aspects of the recognition process, making it more efficient, scalable, and engaging.

So, here are a few ways in which bots can be employed for employee recognition:

Increased Use of Chatbots

A. Automated Recognition Alerts/ Nudges

4 Key Benefits of Employee Rewards and Recognition Programs

Bots can send automated alerts or nudges to managers and team members to recognize employees for their achievements, milestones, or exceptional performance.

Also, they can suggest specific recognition actions based on employee accomplishments and contributions.

For instance, if an employee has successfully completed a project, the bot can recommend sending him/ her a personalized ‘thank-you; message or nominating them for an award.

B. Peer-to-Peer Recognition


Bots can facilitate peer-to-peer recognition by providing a platform where employees can easily acknowledge their co-workers’ contributions.

These bots can then share these recognition messages publicly or privately based on employee preferences.

C. Instant Recognition


Bots can facilitate instant recognition by enabling managers and co-workers to send quick ‘thank-you’ messages or appreciation e-cards to their colleagues, promoting a culture of continuous appreciation.

D. Customized Recognition Messages

Bots can analyze employee data to identify and recognize outstanding performance, work anniversaries, or other milestones automatically.

They can also send automated recognition messages to employees based on their achievements.

Additionally, these messages can be customized to the individual’s role, performance, and preferences.

E. Multi-Language Recognition

Multi Language

For multinational companies, bots can automatically translate recognition messages into the employees’ preferred language and ensure that employees from different language backgrounds can participate easily in the recognition programs.

F. Feedback through Chatbots


Chatbots can collect employee feedback about their experience related to the recognition program. This data can be valuable for refining and improving the recognition program.

Implementing bots for employee recognition can help organizations make the system user-friendly and responsive.

It can make the entire recognition process simple, seamless, and engaging for the employees.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the above trends in employee recognition can help organizations develop roadmaps for their recognition programs to enhance their effectiveness in 2024 and beyond.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of corporate and entrepreneurship experience. In the past, Sagar has worked in leadership roles with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.